While art house lovers are getting their fix at the New York Film Festival, Austin’s Fantastic Fest is offering a feast of genre delights for sci-fi, horror, and fantasy fans. A smattering of reviews coming out of the festival since it opened on Thursday:
“The movie to fly out of [Fantastic Fest] with the greatest buzz (besides ‘Toy Story 3,’ which debuted a trailer) is ‘Zombieland,'” writes indieWIRE’s Anne Thompson, who also has five clips from the film. “Will this zombie parody starring Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson break the horror comedy curse? My instincts say yes. That’s because, unlike Sam Raimi’s PG-13-rated ‘Drag Me to Hell’ or the femme comedy ‘Jennifer’s Body,’ Jimmy Kimmel vet Ruben Fleischer’s movie delivers guts, gore and laughs, in the tradition of micro-budget zombie comedy sleeper ‘Shaun of the Dead,’ which scored $30 million worldwide.”
“Falling closer in tone to ‘Shaun of the Dead’ than ’28 Days Later’ or the George Romero movies, ‘Zombieland’ has its tongue planted firmly in its rancid cheek while still delivering the visceral goodies,” writes The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael Rechtshaffen.
Variety’s Dennis Harvey: “By now there have been quite enough zombie comedies to constitute a little subgenre of their own. If ‘Zombieland’ doesn’t grade at the head of its class — the valedictorian still being ‘Shaun of the Dead’ — this lively splatstick item is nonetheless way above the remedial likes of “Zombie Strippers,” to name one among many recent lower-budgeters.”
“The film has some really great surprises in it, and I’m not even going to hint at what they are,” reports HitFlix’s Drew McWeeny. “The audience I saw the film with was taken aback completely, and the delight that washed over the crowd as one particular set piece unfolded was palpable. There was a point where I thought to myself, ‘You’re really seeing this, it’s really in a movie and there really is a major studio releasing it.’ I give Sony credit for indulging such a hilarious impulse, and in everyone involved for pulling it off so well.”
Austin 360 has an interview with the cast of “Zombieland.”
Watch the trailer 360 for “Zombieland” on YouTube.
Cinematical’s Peter Hall has a review of the festival’s opening night film, “Gentlement Broncos,” from “Napoleon Dynamite” director Jared Hess: “There is nothing inherently wrong with the plot, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with its three biggest cast members, yet the end product is the film equivalent of a 13-year old’s robotripping fever-dream about cyborg Battle Stags (deers with rocket launchers on their sides), creepy “Guardian Angels” (Mike White), terrible science-fantasy writers, pooping snakes, rock-hard balls of popcorn, mamma’s boy angst, and a character whose only contribution to the intended jokes on-hand is always looking like someone has shoved an invisible leaf blower into his mouth.”
“As he did in ‘Napoleon Dynamite,’ Jared keeps both his characters and his audience at arm’s length,” writes Josh Tyler at Cinema Blend. “There’s never any connection between his actors, never any feeling that he understands or sympathizes with these characters, so why should we?”
Sam Rockwell talks about “Gentlemen Broncos” with Austin 360.
Rob Hunter at Film School Rejects reviews one of this year’s two surprise screenings, “Robogeisha”: “Fans of director Noboru Iguchi’s previous films, especially ‘The Machine Girl,’ should find several things to enjoy here. Hot Japanese girls run around wearing outfits designed strictly to be fetishized. Bloody attacks and dismemberments. Metal objects going in and/or out of girls’ asses. Over the top violence that shows a complete disregard for human biology. Normally that in itself would be a problem, but with Yoshihiro Nishimura returning to provide the utterly ridiculous and deliriously entertaining special effects at a blistering pace you don’t have time to stop and complain about anything.”
“Simultaneously a parody of bad melodrama and an explosion of cult excess, ‘RoboGeisha’ takes a (very) basic sisters-competing-for-affection storyline and lifts it out of the standard domestic setting and replaces it with extreme body modification and a clan of geisha-assassins,” writes Todd Brown at Twitch Film. “The girls glare and stomp their feet at each other, then they go and replace their breasts with machine guns. Just when you think Iguchi and Nishimura must have run out of bizarre scenarios and weapons after producing so many of these films they come up with something truly bizarre.”
Cinematical has photos from nearly-nude happening that followed the screening.
Watch the trailer for “Robogeisha” on YouTube.
“‘Trick ‘r Treat’ is the holy grail of Halloween themed horror films,” writes Cinematical’s Peter Hall. “Not because of the notoriously long path writer-director Michael Dougherty’s film has had to take to finally get released… No, Dougherty’s film is such a treasure because it is Halloween. It just had the misfortune of being born a decade too late, of being born into a time when studios only care about remakes or sequels and certainly not about anthology films. Dougherty had, as far as a studio is concerned, the audacity to finely craft, gasp, an original, American horror film.”
‘I have no idea why this languished in development hell for so long, but somebody should lose their job over it,” gushes Brian Salisbury at Film School Rejects. “This film is phenomenal. It is perfectly written, well executed, it looks great, and it’s so much fun. I can see this being the kind of iconic, cult classic that people talk about for decades and throw in every year around this time to get into the spirit of Halloween.”
Watch the trailer for “Trick ‘r Treat” on YouTube.